For six years, the Lown Institute has brought together clinicians, patients, and community members to discuss the most pressing issues in health care. How did the Lown Conference start, and what sets this meeting apart from other health care conferences?
The Lown Conference started as a small meeting in 2012 called “Avoiding Avoidable Care” (the term “overtreatment” was deemed too controversial at the time). Although awareness of the harms of unnecessary medical care has grown considerably since then, overuse is still ubiquitous in health care, in America and abroad.
In partnership with RWJF, the Lown Institute has filled its conferences with thought leaders, patient advocates, and forerunners in the “less is more” movement. Unlike most health care meetings, which paid lip service to unnecessary medical care, burnout, and health care costs, the Lown Conference put these topics in the center.
“The meetings permitted an exploration of rarely touched-on aspects of overuse, such as its implications for clinician moral distress, erosion of trust between patients and clinicians, and social spending by government,” write Brownlee and Ganos.
In 2018, the Lown Institute made “Building the Next Health System” the main focus of the conference, including in-depth conversations on single-payer health care, moving from hospital-based to community-based care, strengthening our standards of scientific evidence, and restoring the bonds of trust between doctors and patients.
“The next health system will require many such innovations in the way care is delivered and financed, and the Lown Conference hopes to continue to showcase them,” write Brownlee and Ganos.